Take a quick scroll on your Facebook news feed and you might notice that you see more photos from your aunt’s vacation and less sponsored posts from the pages you “like.” Coincidence? Not at all.
In fact, Facebook announced some major changes in June that will greatly affect what users see on their home pages. With fewer posts from marketers and more posts from friends and family, this could directly affect your company’s next marketing campaign and how you utilize Facebook in the future.
The Basics of the Update
On their newsroom blog, Facebook announced that it would be making a “better news feed” for its 1.65 billion users. Some key insights include:
• Mark Zuckerberg and the rest of Facebook are defining “better” as a new way to sort out what you see on your home page. Posts from your friends and family will receive priority over posts from brands, publishers and other pages.
• On another blog post, Facebook gives some justification for these changes, stating, “Our top priority is keeping you connected to the people, places and things you want to be connected to — starting with the people you are friends with on Facebook,” according to Lars Backstrom, Facebook’s Engineering Director.
Essentially, Facebook wants their users to have a positive experience while scrolling through the site and are therefore going back to basics by reconnecting users with their friends and family.
But Backstrom also says that Facebook anticipates these new changes “may cause reach and referral traffic to decline for some pages.”
How These Updates Will Affect Your Page
So what does this new update mean for publishers who rely on Facebook for site traffic? We should first point out that this has already affected your brand, perhaps without your knowledge.
According to MarketingDive, the reach of stories by publishers had already dropped by 42 percent in June. Additionally, stories posted by brands on Facebook reached an average of 68,000 people in June compared to 117,000 people in January.
What does this mean? Facebook has been changing news feeds for a much longer time than we originally thought.
In light of these changes, here’s what you can anticipate for the future of your brand’s Facebook page:
1. Decline in Organic Reach
o Organic reach – the traffic your Facebook page receives without you having to pay for it – has already been declining. The new update won’t be improving this. In fact, it may make the decline even more rapid.
o With more and more pages created on Facebook daily, the site estimates that a user may see over 1,500 posts on their home page with each login. As a result, it’s getting harder and harder for brands to gain exposure to their page – especially when they aren’t paying for it.
2. Increase in Ad Prices
o With a decrease in traffic, brands will do what they have to do in order to see some of the reach they previously had on their pages. This means there will likely be an influx of paid Facebook ads to compensate for the changes.
o A higher demand for ads can only mean one thing – a higher price per ad. Cue companies adjusting their marketing budgets and begrudgingly pulling out their wallets.
3. Spike in Instant Articles
o “Instant articles” were released in May as a way for publishers to sneak their way into news feeds everywhere. These specialized articles allow brands to optimize their content to load 10x faster than standard mobile web articles, giving users a minimal wait time to read your post.
o The opportunities to make your article stand out are endless as interactive options such as maps or autoplay videos are available. Brands can also make money by placing ads inside the instant articles they share.
o The sign-up for instant articles, however, is anything but instant. Pages must have the appropriate markup and submit a minimum of 50 sample articles that Facebook must approve. Interested brands can learn more and sign up here.
4. Increased Interest in Canvas
o Another way for brands to find a spot on news feeds is through their new ad product, Canvas. Canvas provides a full-screen, interactive ad experience right on your phone. With customers spending more and more time on their mobile devices, this seems to be a smart, strategic move for brands.
o Similar to instant articles, the program offers promising features such as quicker load times and the freedom of expression with options such as drag-and-drop, animated GIFS, videos and more.
o With a focus on mobile, faster load times and an opportunity to put an emphasis on video – Canvas may be an essential feature for brands who want to keep up with current social media trends and heavily utilize Facebook as a promotional tool. Learn more about Canvas and sign up here.
Find Your Way Back to the News Feed
So in summary, Facebook wants to stay in the “friend” zone and make it easier for people to see posts from their friends and family. This is semi-understandable, as the social network has seen a significant decline in personal posts.
However, because of this it makes it much harder for brands who regularly use Facebook to stay relevant and call dibs on their spot in news feeds everywhere.
The Bottom Line: Create Shareable Content
Let’s not forget that your brand’s posts will still appear in users’ news feeds if it is shared by one of their friends. This means that even though these changes in Facebook’s algorithm have rolled out, the basic principle of creating content that people will share is still – and will always be – pertinent.
How you create sharable content through your social media marketing is up to you. Whether you choose to dip your feet into the pool of paid ads, instant articles, Canvas, or choose to get creative in your own way, it’s every business for themselves in the competition for Facebook traffic.
May the best brands win the most traffic.